Bali’s known for being such a hip vacation destination that sometimes it’s hard to find a spot to truly relax and chill, away from the sweat-dripping crowds and their tropical cocktails.
So if you’d like to escape to a different kind of resort that offers some real peace, check out our list of unique hotels, which include bubble rooms, a safari lodge, and plenty of eco-friendly bamboo bungalows. They’re not just little sleepy sanctuaries – they’re also worlds apart from any of the soulless hotel chains scattered all around the island.
Sustainable hospitality best describes this eco-chic Ubud retreat, which started with just 11 historic Javanese teak bridal homes that founders John and Cynthia Hardy restored and brought to Bali in 2005. They’ve added four more to their collection since then – including bamboo tree houses – each with a different theme and design, from whimsical and cozy to colorful and vibrant. There’s the ultra private and luxurious, too, if you’re more into that kind of thing. To switch things up, you can even stay in a different room each night (but take note that prices can increase quickly, depending on which option you choose).
Stroll around the grounds and you’ll encounter an organic vegetable and herb garden, an environmentally-friendly swimming pool built with recyclable and natural materials, observation decks nestled among the trees, a restaurant serving traditional Indonesian cuisine, and views of the Ayung River, with exotic trinkets from the couples’ travels scattered around the resort.
Banjar Baung, Desa Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar. +62 (0) 361 977 922. Reservations@bambuindah.com. Rates from US$95/night.
Now you can literally live in a bubble on the lush island of Bali at this ridiculously romantic-sounding experience. Seriously, these transparent spheres have everything you need for some good quality couple time – a night under twinkling stars, with stunning views of the ocean and the peace that comes when you’re surrounded by nothing but hushed greenery.
However, not to burst your bubble — but take note that you’ll be sleeping in the vicinity of other bubble tents (so draw those curtains), and the shower and toilet facilities are tucked away in the jungle, which means you may be doing business with wildlife watching you and insects buzzing around you. Perhaps this concept works better as a one-night special – after all, it’s not every day you get to cuddle in a giant, see-through igloo.
Nyang Nyang Beach, Uluwatu. Rates around US$102/night.
A sustainable community of bamboo villas and houses, each with its own unique design and structure, this marvel is designed by the IBUKU team, helmed by Elora Hardy, the daughter of the couple behind Bambu Indah. (She actually created the village in collaboration with her father.)
It’s a pretty spectacular sight, gazing at these gorgeous architectural wonders housing luxe amenities and furniture handcrafted from natural materials found in Bali. The sturdy structures sit by the edge of the Ayung River, near the Green School, a private institution that focuses on the teaching of sustainable living, and a bamboo factory – both of which guests can tour. Another plus: If you find yourself reluctant to leave, you can always purchase your own spot of jungle luxury.
Jl. Tanah Ayu, Sibang Gede, Abiansemal – Badung. +62 811 392 2254. Tour@greenvillagebali.com. Rates from US$97/night.
Ensconced in the mountainous region of Gunung Agung, Hideout Bali is another eco-friendly bamboo hideaway along idyllic riverbanks and rice fields. Started by a Czech couple, the secluded countryside paradise is home to a two-story bamboo bungalow, the type of rustic place you escape to for solitude when you’re feeling overwhelmed by life.
It comes with a fully equipped kitchen, a living area with a hanging hammock, and an outdoor shower, but no AC. To keep yourself occupied (if you get bored of the quiet), the house is filled with books, musical instruments, and board games.
In the same garden of bamboo houses, there’s also Hideout Lightroom – a modern and funky structure – and the latest, Hideout Beehive, which features a private pool and a swing in its premises.
Jalan Alas Tunggal , Selat Duda, Karangasem. Hideoutbali@gmail.com. Rates from US$165/night.
For those living in Southeast Asia who can’t bear to drop dough on a trip to South Africa’s majestic safaris, here’s a wild experience right in your backyard. The Mara River Safari Lodge is situated in the Bali Safari & Marine Park, with nicely kitted out rooms and balconies so you can get into the safari swing of things without sacrificing your comfy bed and AC. If you’re lucky enough, you may even get to spot some animals wandering around outside your terrace.
Park admission is complimentary for guests, and you can opt for breakfast with the lions before you hop on a tram to visit the animals in their natural habitats.
Jl. Bypass Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra Km, Gianyar. +62 361 479 1800. Reservation@marariversafarilodge.com. Rates from US$161/night.
On the same premises with organic vegan joint Akasha Restaurant & Juice Bar, this bio-architecture two-story dome made from bamboo and other natural materials is surrounded by rice paddies, with views of jungle foliage. There’s Wi-Fi on site, but who needs that when you’ve got a view of the landscape at your door and the gleaming stars from the skylight?
It’s just ten minutes from Ubud in the outskirts, but it may as well be hours, since it’s in such a hidden oasis. Ideal for couples, and especially couples seeking quiet for a few nights.
Jalan N Sinta, Keliki, Tegallalang, Gianyar. +62 813 3888 5397. Rates from US$77/night.
Holiday with nature at your doorstep, with one private villa and six in a resort complex, all tucked away in the greenery of Canggu. If you think these accommodations look like charming wooden bungalows, that’s because some of them are decades-old joglos brought here from Sumatra and Java, and then painstakingly restored.
From an ethnic wooden house embellished with an eccentric mix of artifacts to a whitewashed cozy country home with views of the river to a cottage with an indoor swing, each house has its own personality and quirk, blending traditional Balinese culture and boho beach vibes beautifully.
Jl. Raya Uma Buluh 14, Canggu, Badung. +62 812 3969 6629. Info@jungleroombali.com. Rates from US$97/night.
Connected to the island of Nusa Lembongan via the famous “Indiana Jones”-style suspended bridge, Nusa Ceningan is a tranquil island encircled by turquoise waters. Sitting on a low cliff right by the beach, Le Pirate is just about one of the most photogenic Caribbean-style vacation homes you can find in Bali.
It’s mostly a beach club with tiny bungalows that look picture-worthy — however, they’re small and only have the basics of what you need for a two-night stay (that’s the minimum). But hey, you get ocean views while lounging around, plus activities like snorkeling, diving, and surfing, so there’s never a dull moment.
Nusa Ceningan, Lembongan. Rates from US$50/night.
By far the most wallet-friendly on the list, Bali’s “secret wooden house” is actually a cluster of lovely little antique-looking teak houses re-designed into cottages, set in a garden flourishing with banana and coconut trees, as well as herbs and flowers.
Five quaint cabins are available (meaning there’s a chance you could bump into your neighbors hanging out on their porch), all furnished with teak furniture made from recycled wood, and tucked away just enough to keep you from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowds.
Jalan Gunung Soputan No. 99a Gang Dukuh Anyar, Denpasar. Rates from US$22/night.